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Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics Paperback – August 1, 1987

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a sequel to Ferguson and Rogers's anthology of studies that examined the 1980 presidential election ( The Hidden Election, LJ 10/1/81). This new study focuses on both the party-electoral system of of the past and its likely future. The authors claim that over the past several years public policy and the party system have moved to the right while public opinon has remained essentially stable and left-of-centera pattern they foresee as continuing regardless of which party occupies the White House. What may be of greatest interest and controversy is the new "investment perspective" the authors employ to explain these changes. For informed laypeople and specialists. Edward C. Dreyer, Political Science Dept., Univ. of Tulsa, Okla.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

THOMAS FERGUSON is Dean of Bexley Hall, within the Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Federation. A scholar and practitioner, he holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and has served congregations in Connecticut and Rhode Island. He has also served as The Episcopal Church s officer for ecumenical and interreligious relations. Tom and his wife, the Rev. Shannon Kelly, live in Columbus, Ohio, with their son. Follow his blog at crustyoldean.blogspot.com.

Joel Rogers, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" prize-winner and identified by Newsweek as one of the 100 living Americans most likely to shape U.S. politics and culture in the twenty-first century, is professor of law, political science, public affairs, and sociology at the University of Wisconsin Madison. The common thread in his academic work is democracy: how to define and measure it, what makes it work, how to make it work better. Rogers spends a lot of time outside the university advising people in politics, government, business, and social movements. He runs the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, which promotes high road (i.e., equitable, sustainable, democratic) economic development and governance, and has produced a stream of influential innovations in worker training; business and labor strategy; and local, state, and national policy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang (August 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809001705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809001705
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Sean Mulligan on September 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the era of the Tea Party and claims that Obama is a Socialist, this book, which helps show how U.S. politics has gone so far to the right, is very relevant when the Tea Party is claiming to battle the establishment in this election cycle. While many people claim, that the Reagan presidency, showed the American people were moving to the Right, this book shows, through analysis of opinion polls, that the political opinion of the American public either stayed the same or moved to the Left on most issues.

The change in the country's political climate, resulted not from a change in public opinion but the defection of a number of business interests that usually supported the Democrats to the Republicans. The elite groups in the Democratic Party prevented Carter, in 1980 and Mondale in 1984 from offering an attractive alternative to the Reagan program. The book mentions the formation of the Democratic Leadership Council, aimed at moving the Democratic Party to the Right. This movement resulted in the nomination of the DLCer Bill Clinton and the Clinton presidency.

This book is still relevant and offers some tips on how the Democrats can defeat the Tea Party/Republicans.
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Format: Paperback
After President Ronald Reagan's landslide 1984 defeat of former Vice-President Walter Mondale, the Democratic Party's leading fund-raisers and policy analysts decided to coalesce around a plan to push the party rightward. Democrats were losing, they argued, because the party was being held hostage by so-called special interests (labor, minorities, women and the poor) while the rest of America had moved on. The liberal values that had produced the New Deal and the Great Society, they explained, were being rejected at the polls while self-serving, narrow interests within the party were refusing to release control of a bus heading off a cliff. The authors of the present book, Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Rogers, argue, on the contrary, that there is little to no evidence to back up this belief in a "right turn" within the American electorate.

Beginning with a detailed study of public opinion, the authors conclude that throughout the 1970s (the period which oversaw the vast increase in business support for the GOP at the expense of the Democrats) public opinion on the vast majority of political and economic issues of the day either remained stable or moved considerably to the left. While *ideologically* moderately conservative, the U.S. populace continued to be *programmatically* liberal or social democratic; very often increasingly so. Turning then to an examination of the theory of critical realignment (the belief that electoral change occurs through shifts in well-defined social groups such as Catholics, blacks, blue-collar workers, rural Protestants, southern whites, etc.), Ferguson and Rogers find much there to criticize.
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